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Wall Street ends higher, crude prices rise ahead of US holiday weekend

Published 2024-05-23, 10:19 p/m
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Visitors and electronic screens displaying Japan's Nikkei stock quotation board are reflected on window glasses as the share average surged past an all-time record high scaled in December 1989, inside a building in Tokyo, Japan February 22, 20

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. stocks rallied and crude oil prices rebounded after upbeat economic data on Friday as investors positioned themselves ahead of the long U.S. Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start to summer.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the S&P 500 advanced, while the Dow closed nominally higher.

The light-volume session capped a week in which minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting struck a hawkish tone, solid economic data hinted at the possibility of rising inflation and megacap chipmaker Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA)'s beat-and-raise earnings report re-ignited investors' fervor for artificial intelligence.

"After yesterday’s very rough day it was nice to see the bulls make a stand ahead of the long holiday weekend," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group in Omaha, Nebraska. "The economy continues to surprise to the upside. That’s why stocks are flirting with all-time highs."

On a weekly basis, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq nabbed their fifth straight Friday-to-Friday gains, while the Dow was on track to snap its five-week winning streak.

Investors are growing increasingly resigned to the higher-for-longer interest rate narrative after the Fed minutes release on Wednesday, as well as cautious remarks from policymakers who expressed doubt whether inflation is indeed on a reliable downward trajectory.

Financial markets are now pricing just one rate cut in 2024, a far cry from the six cuts that were projected earlier in the year. 

On the economic front, new orders for U.S. durable goods increased more than expected, while the University of Michigan's final take on May consumer sentiment bumped higher.

"The realization that the economy is not slowing down has pushed back on any summer rate cut," Detrick added. "July is likely off the table, but as (Fed Chair) Jerome Powell has said, with improving inflation data over the summer, a September rate cut has a fighter’s chance." 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.33 points, or 0.01%, to 39,069.59, the S&P 500 gained 36.88 points, or 0.70%, to 5,304.72 and the Nasdaq Composite added 184.76 points, or 1.1%, to 16,920.79.

European shares closed lower and recorded a weekly decline as sentiment was dampened by the re-emergence of interest rate worries.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.19% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.34%.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.73%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.88% lower, while Japan's Nikkei lost 1.17%.

Treasury yields were mixed after reports confirmed the U.S. economy remains resilient, which could convince the Fed to hold off on cutting interest rates this year.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 2/32 in price to yield 4.4669%, from 4.475% late on Thursday.

The 30-year bond last rose 4/32 in price to yield 4.5729%, from 4.58% late on Thursday.

The dollar dipped against a basket of world currencies but remained well-placed to resume its advance as stronger-than-expected economic data has prompted markets to dial back rate cut expectations.

The dollar index fell 0.36%, with the euro up 0.31% to $1.0847.

The Japanese yen was flat versus the greenback at 156.93 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2739, up 0.33% on the day.

Crude prices edged higher, after having been under pressure for much of the week as the notion of prolonged restrictive Fed policy dampened the demand outlook.

U.S. crude rose 1.11% to settle at $77.72 per barrel, while Brent settled at $82.12 per barrel, up 0.93% on the day.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Morning sunlight falls on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday's trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Gold prices rose but recorded their first weekly downturn in three due to lowered rate cut expectations. 

Spot gold added 0.3% to $2,336.03 an ounce.

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